A 41-year-old man was sentenced to jail for five years and eight months after he skipped national service for more than 17 years.
He was sentenced on March 22, The Straits Times reported.
Mohammad Zaidie Ahmad, a fitness instructor, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Civil Defence Act.
Stopped showing up for NS
He was supposed to serve NS from March 13, 2004, at his posting to the HQ Basic Rescue Training Centre at Jalan Bahar Camp.
He reported for duty.
But in less than four months, starting from July 5, he went absent.
The police arrested him about five months later before the end of 2004.
He was supposed to resume his NS stint in December that year.
But Zaidie was able to submit a medical certificate for the period between Dec. 3 and 20, 2004.
He then went absent without official leave again and did not report for duty on Dec. 21.
When the police finally caught him, it was Sep. 7, 2021.
No explanation why he got caught after 17 years
ST reported that court documents did not reveal why it took the authorities 17 years to arrest the man.
It was also not reported how he got caught.
The defence lawyer told the court that Zaidie had been financially supporting his son and two step siblings and decided to abscond to take care of them, ST reported.
District Judge Marvin Bay noted that the accused was trying to earn more money by skipping NS, but stressed that "national defence should be paramount" given the state of current world events, according to ST.
Zaidie will serve his sentence on May 5.
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